Gov. Andrew Cuomo was met with loud gasps Monday at the breakfast preceding the West Indian Day parade when he mourned the passing of Una Clarke, a major figure in the Caribbean-American community.
Clarke, 83, is very much alive.
“Una Clarke, God rest her soul,” Cuomo said as an uproar reverberated through the crowd at the annual celebration of Caribbean culture.
Clarke, the first Caribbean-born woman elected to the City Council, is now a trustee of the City University of New York.
She’s also the mother of Brooklyn Rep. Yvette Clarke, who was in the audience when the governor made — and quickly corrected — his gaffe.
Cuomo was recognizing prominent Caribbean-Americans who recently died, including parade organizer Bill Howard, when he mistakenly included Una Clarke.
He said the losses made the celebration bittersweet.
“Every community that comes to this country has obstacles that they have to face. And every community has pathfinders and leaders who overcome those obstacles. West Indian community, Shirley Chisholm, God rest her soul. Una Clarke, God rest her soul. [Uproar follows] Una Clarke – who is with us here today. Sorry, sorry. Bill Howard, God rest his soul,” Cuomo said.
Yvette Clarke said she made it clear to Cuomo that her mom has not passed away.
“I guess he was misinformed so we let him know unequivocally that Dr. Clarke is here kicking and strong as ever,” the congresswoman said.
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